LONDON — A man was shot dead by armed officers in a “terrorist related incident” in south London on Sunday, police said.
It was “believed a number of people have been stabbed,” the British capital’s Metropolitan Police said in statement. Police added that the incident was thought to be “terrorist-related.”
The London Ambulance Service said in a statement it “treated three patients for injuries at the scene, and took all three people to hospital.”
Police said the scene on Streatham High Road, a working class neighborhood around 7 miles south of central London, had been “fully contained.”
Multiple police cars blocked off traffic in the area as helicopters hovered above the scene Sunday afternoon. Karker Tahir, 28, works at a barber shop just across from where the stabbing happened.
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The entire incident lasted about 30 seconds before he heard at least three gunshots fired at the suspect by police, Tahir told NBC News.
“He was running and he was shot,” Tahir said. “He was on the floor, looking around. Police kept telling him, ‘Don’t move.’”
Tahir, who lives in neighboring Brixton, said that armed police responded quickly and told witnesses to back away as the suspect appeared to be wearing a vest.
“If you see a man get shot and wearing a vest,” Tahir said. “If that vest has gone off, I am sure I would not be safe like this right now. I am shocked.”
Jonathan Bartley, a ward councillor who lives in the area, told NBC News that he rushed to the scene after hearing from his partner, who encountered the aftermath while shopping. Though Bartley didn’t see the incident himself, he said there was a “real sense of fear and panic.”
“There were people in floods of tears moving away form the scene,” Bartley said. “There was a woman saying, I fear for my daughter in this area and then just broke down in tears.”
The councillor called the neighborhood, where he’s lived for 20 years, “one of the most diverse, inclusive, and tolerant communities in London.”
“On a Sunday afternoon, you’d think this is the safest place in the world — people out of shopping,” he said. “I take my children down this high road every weekend. I have never felt more safe than on Streatham High Road.”
Thanking the emergency services Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “My thoughts are with the injured and all those affected.”
London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan also thanked “police, security and emergency services for their swift and courageous response,” to the incident, in a statement.
“They truly are the best of us,” he said. “Terrorists seek to divide and destroy our way of life — here in London were will never let them succeed.”
This is a developing story, more to follow.
Doha Madani contributed.